Today, there is a great concern about gang activity and youth violence. Every day, we can open a newspaper or turn on the evening news and see that another child or victim was killed in gang or youth related violence. Teenage crime and violence has existed for many years. Many people have become more aware of the violence committed by today's youth because of the media coverage of the viciousness of these crimes. The public is also aware of the new breed of criminal. Juvenile gangs have existed for many years. In the past, gang members fought with fists, brass knuckles and sticks. Today's gangs have better weapons, including sophisticated automatic weapons and they are prepared to use these weapons.

The gangs usually come from the poorer areas of the inner cities, which was the case for even the earliest known gangs. Gangs and youth violence has always existed, but the increased interest and concern in their activities has emerged because of the increasing violence and death toll on our youth. New York City was the first city to have serious problems with gang- related activity because it was the first stop for many new immigrants entering the United States. Search of a better way of life immigrants created gangs. Even back then people joined gangs to feel a sense of safety even though it was the total opposite. Gangs attacked people who ventured into their neighborhood and attacked, robbed or pick-pocketed them and more risking their life every time. After immigrants entered the United States more youth gangs were formed. The poorer neighborhoods have became a breeding ground for these gangs.
In the 1920's there was a decrease in gang activity. Many factors contributed to the decrease in gang activity, but the main reasons were the police put many gang leaders in prison, immigration started to slow down, and opportunities for better jobs allowed recent immigrants to move out of the slums to better neighborhoods. Today, we see an increase in gang activity. Some of these gangs are still running. we are seeing violence by large groups of teenagers that have joined together, sometimes not even knowing each other and a kind of mob psychology takes over, where there is sometimes a frenzy of violence.

In 1989, a sixteen year old black youth was beaten by a gang with bats in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, when he went to purchase a car. In 1986, Howard Beach, Queens, eleven white youths beat and yelled racial epithets at two black men that had entered their neighborhood. One black was beaten by the group and the other was chased onto a highway were he was struck and killed. My point is gangs are very much alive and they will do anything to get what they were taught across. One big reason why these youths get caught up in this loop is to receive a sense of power but there are other ways then joining a gang.